BOOK SHOP BARGAIN HUNTING Patrick Moehrke browsing Pimp My Book.

Pimp My Book in Die Neelsie has recently come under fire from Stellenbosch University (SU) students who are unhappy about how the second-hand bookseller deals with their money.

Pimp My Book provides students with the opportunity to sell their used textbooks, and is a popular option on campus.

However, there have been complaints this year about delays in notifying students that their books have been sold, as well as in the receiving of payments, which stu dents can collect as soon as their books have been sold, particularly with regards to the consignment system. At Pimp My Book, students are notified via email or SMS that their book has been sold.

The student is then requested to send their banking details to Pimp My Book in order for the money to be transferred, but students can also go to the store and collect the cash. Samantha van den Berg, a second year BCom Management student, gave Pimp My Book one of her textbooks in 2018 to sell on her behalf.

Van den Berg said that she didn’t get contacted for a year and went to ask at the beginning of 2019 if the book had been sold.

“It had been sold, but I hadn’t been contacted about the money,” Van den Berg said.

According to her, the employees at Pimp My Book could not find her or her information on the system.

Van den Berg said that these employees were “not very helpful” and she went home to look for the original receipt in order to take it to Pimp My Book as they would then have to refund her.

When she went back, they told her to go back to the store later in the week as they did not have the cash to pay her.

“I did get the money eventually, but it was just long and drawn out,” she said.

Wianda Gilliland, an Honours student in Journalism, had a similar experience. She went to the Pimp My Book store in Die Neelsie during peak season this year.

Pimp My Book allegedly could not purchase her book but said that they would take it on consignment and place it on the shelf.

Gilliland said, “They literally gave me a little piece of paper ripped out from an exam pad and said that I should put [my] name and contact details on there.” They did not ask her anything about banking details.

“A week or two went by and I got an email from them; just one sentence saying please provide us with your banking details,” Gilliland said.

She replied with her banking details and asked if her book had been sold. She apparently did not receive any response on her email and, after a week, sent another email stating that she had not yet received any payment and she again asked if her book had been sold.

After a few weeks, she went to the store and asked them to check on the system if her book had been sold, which it had.

According to Gilliland, Simba Mhesano, an employee of 10 years at Pimp My Book, told her that the EFT system was down, but that they did not have the cash at that moment, and she should come back the next morning.

Gilliand did go the next morning, after being reassured that they will definitely have the cash when she returns, but they still did not have the cash.

This time, she was told to return at lunch time on the same day. When she returned at lunch time, the money was still not ready for her to collect and the employee had to “scramble for a few coins in his own wallet”.

A third year BCom Actuarial Science student, Patrick Moehrke, also had delays in receiving his payment.

Pimp My Book bought two of his textbooks in February of this year, but he did not receive cash for these books.

They did, however, give him a receipt and sent him a follow-up email requesting his banking details, which he then provided.

About a month later, he went to the Pimp My Book store and enquired as to why he had not been paid yet.

Moehrke produced the receipts for his books and said that he then immediately received payment from Pimp My Book.

“I should have probably acted a bit sooner, but I didn’t,” Moehkre added.

Mhesano explained that students have three options when wanting to sell a book. They can either sell it to Pimp My Book and receive cash immediately, place it on consignment where students leave their books on the shelves and are informed when it has been sold after which they can collect 70% of the selling price. The last option is PimpWallet where students receive credit for selling their textbook to Pimp My Book.

“This year I did have issues with [payment] as my head office did not do the payment,” Mhesano said.

He added that they spend one day a week, usually a Friday or a Saturday informing people that their books have been sold, but that they try not to inform new people if the previous week’s customers have yet to receive their money, resulting in delays.

Photo: Lara van Heerden